April 6, 2011

Ikea - Model for Simplicity or Temptation to Clutter??

Haven't we all spent countless hours in Ikea, wandering the aisles, wondering if we would ever find an exit? Then, finally emerging, dazed, into the light of day, find ourselves with more purchases than we can fit inside our vehicles?

Today, Unclutterer, inspired by the article here, stated that,
Ikea is a marvel at offering products that contain stuff instead of actually forcing their owners to purge.
The Swedish company sends an interestingly contradictory message, promoting a simple, uncluttered life, yet stocking thousands of items for us to take home. Maybe, instead of buying yet another container or bookshelf to hide our stuff we ought get rid of some of it instead.

The perfect showrooms in Ikea make us believe we can live a streamlined, modern existence, but it is easy to keep a room perfect when no one lives there. No food, dirty dishes, papers, crayons or clothing are strewn about in a model kitchen or living room. It is unrealistic to think that a real family can maintain the same idealized spaces, at least not without an extreme obsessive focus that would detract from more important things!

I love Ikea for their affordable design - just yesterday I was marveling at my perfect set of Ikea kitchen utensils with each pancake flipper and spoon formed out of a single piece of stainless steel. However, I still haven't gotten rid of my old utensils (with their unsanitary wooden handles) even though I told myself I would do so when I bought the shiny new Ikea set. I have some purging to do, and not only in the kitchen.

Since I live near an Ikea store, on a rainy day I sometimes enjoy a brisk walk through the store, to enjoy the aesthetic elements and come up with decorating ideas. The spare, modern rooms shown at Ikea can be an inspiration to lighten up and clear out unnecessary items we already own rather than stocking up on yet more manufactured goods. However, a warning - stay out of Ikea unless you are determined to only buy for a specific need and go there armed with a list and measurements! Pointless browsing only leads to spending money on items that are probably not needed. Instead of shopping, do some Spring cleaning and clearing. We can set a goal to edit and simplify our spaces for more a more enjoyable and stress-free existence and maybe end up with rooms that actually do look more like the Ikea models.

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